Romantic Relationships at Work

Are romantic relationships acceptable at your place of employment? An online survey suggests that about seventy percent of those polled believed that romantic relationships at work are acceptable. The key ingredient to accepting relationships at work is the maintenance of professional standards and demeanour. 

In some cases it is considered acceptable for romance to blossom even between those at different levels of an organisation. Some respondents believed that a “natural boundary” is important, for instance not being employed in related roles or not being in geographical proximity to each other. A few of those survey expressed concerns that a romantic relationship between teammates or being part of the same department may affect other employees.  A major concern involved a junior employee reporting directly to a senior employee while engaged in a romantic relationship.

Romantic Relationships at Work

Many of those surveyed suggested that they were unaware if there was a formal policy prohibiting dating between co-workers in their place of employment. But over fifty percent of those polled believed that some kind of dating policy would be beneficial. The respondents believed that the policy should outline expected behaviour between those romantically involved. And it should prohibit dating between supervisors and their subordinates. 

The overall consensus was that companies have no right to interfere in employees’ private lives, even though many surveyed believed that it was acceptable for co-workers to be romantically involved. They also believed that co-workers in romantic relationships often created problems in the work place. There was also a concern raised about perceived favouritism. And it was generally believed that women experienced greater difficulties when a romantic relationship ended, as they were often fired or transferred.

Some respondents believed the key to co-workers being in successful romantic relationships in the work place, was the ability to remain discreet and act with maturity. A concern raised by some was the need for both parties to be educated about sexual harassment at work and the implication of dating someone from the office. One respondent pointed out the ever increasing demand placed on workers by employers. Many employees are time poor and there is very little opportunity to find a partner, so the office may be a good place to start. 

Christopher Swane - Relationship Counselling and Psychotherapy - Wellington New Zealand